US pullout from Syria to be done in ‘prudent’ way: Trump

President Donald Trump on Monday sought to end fears of an abrupt US pullout from Syria. (AP)
Updated 08 January 2019
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US pullout from Syria to be done in ‘prudent’ way: Trump

  • Currently, about 2,000 US forces are in the Syria
  • Allies like Britain and France warned that Daesh was not defeated

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Monday sought to end fears of an abrupt US pullout from Syria, saying the fight against Daesh was not over and that withdrawal would be done in a "prudent" manner.
"We will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight Daesh and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!" Trump tweeted.
The president has come under withering pressure both at home and in allied capitals after previous statements indicating that he considered Daesh vanquished and that he wanted US troops out of Syria imminently.
Trump's new statement follows a trip by his national security adviser John Bolton to Israel in which he told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday that withdrawal would not happen before "ISIS is defeated and not able to revive itself."
The reassurances followed a diplomatic storm caused by Trump's surprise announcement in December that appeared to signal a rapid withdrawal from Syria, where US special forces play an important role in supporting local forces fighting Daesh.
"We've won against ISIS," he said at the time. "We've beaten them and we've beaten them badly. We've taken back the land. And now it's time for our troops to come back home."
Allies like Britain and France warned that Daesh was not defeated. Questions were also raised over the fate of Kurdish groups that have done much of the fighting alongside the United States in Syria, but now fear attacks from Turkey.
The initial pullout promise also sparked outspoken opposition from within Trump's Republican party and the resignation of respected defense secretary James Mattis.
In Monday's statement, Trump complained that media coverage had skewed his original words, saying that his latest position on Syria was "no different from my original statements."
Currently, about 2,000 US forces are in the Syria, which is in the grips of a complex civil war. Most of the US soldiers are there to train local forces fighting Daesh.


Iraqi forces clear farmland near Baghdad of Daesh militants

Updated 20 min 41 sec ago
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Iraqi forces clear farmland near Baghdad of Daesh militants

  • A military helicopter flew over army units in the area as troops on the ground searched for weapon caches and bombs

TARAMIYAH: Iraqi security forces are sweeping villages and farmland north of Baghdad as part of an operation aimed at clearing remaining militants belonging to the Daesh group from around the country’s capital.
A military helicopter flew over army units in the area as troops on the ground searched for weapon caches and bombs in farmland in Taramiyah on Tuesday. The area is about 50 kilometers, or 31 miles, north of Baghdad.
The dragnet is part of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory,” which started two weeks ago along the border with Syria and was extended last week to areas north of Baghdad and in the Diyala, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces.
Although Iraq declared victory against IS in July 2017, the extremists continue to carry out attacks around the country.